Over the past week, I've had a couple of conversations about what has been the most helpful element of my ongoing Migraine management efforts. This is a very common topic since all of us want to make progress in this area.
My answer to this question has always tended to be that the most important element of Migraine management is a good, knowledgeable doctor who will work with me as a treatment partner. A doctor who will outline all of the options, then make decisions WITH me, not FOR me. My Migraine specialist, Dr. David Watson, loves working this way. If you'd like to see more about how we work together, see Managing Migraine.
What's occurred to me after talking with people like Dr. Watson is that our attitude is as important as finding the right doctor to work with as a treatment partner. Dr. Watson and some other Migraine specialists I know have pointed out that the best of doctors can't manage our Migraines for us. It has to be a true partnership, and that includes our going into the partnership with an attitude that's primed for success, not failure.
We all know that it can be easy to feel that we've "tried everything," easy to lose hope. But that presents us with multiple problems, not the least of which is that if we go to a new doctor thinking that there's nothing he or she can do to help us, or if we start a new medication thinking it's going to fail, we're sunk. That old self-fulfilling prophecy is going to rise up, bite us, and working with that new doctor or trying that new medication will fail because our minds are stronger than our bodies.
Now, let's be fair here. This applies to our doctors too. Little makes me angrier than when a fellow Migraineur tells me that their doctor said there's nothing left that they can do to help them. Seriously? Well, let me set you straight on that. It would take a very rare case indeed for there to be nothing nothing left to try. There are so many preventive options available today that to give each one of them a fair 90-day trial would take in excess of 25 years of trying a new one every 90 days with no breaks. There are fewer abortive and rescue options, but for a doctor to say there's nothing left to try is simply unacceptable.
So, what's the most helpful element of Migraine management? There are two:
- a good doctor who's willing to work with us as treatment partners,
- a good attitude on the part of both the Migraineur and the doctor.
That's where the word "Migratude" comes in.
We must combine our aptitude for learning about and coping with Migraines with a positive attitude toward Migraine management and living with Migraines to come up with a...
I'll leave you with a bit of inspiration from the magnificent Patti LaBelle...
because a migraine is NOT "just a headache"